Buying Vs. Leasing: The Best Deals For Wheels
by Vanessa Loy (BPRW)
Maybe you work from home and your driving is primarily limited to your immediate neighborhood for groceries and other mundane needs. Or you may endure an hour-long commute that includes not only to and from the office, but picking up your children after school. Not only does more use mean more mileage, it means more potential for accidents, more potential for interior damage and more trips for regular maintenance work.
From a financial standpoint, a lease is often more affordable in the short term. The monthly payments for leases are generally lower than monthly payments to purchase, plus you get a brand new car every few years. The efficiency of a new car is a cost-saving condition itself if you drive extensively. However, there are other costs associated with leasing that drive up the expenses of a heavily driven car.
When leasing a car, your contract will generally state a pre-determined amount of mileage permitted for the duration of your lease. Any amount you go over may incur high charges, but you will not be reimbursed if you drive under your mileage limit. That does not include the charges for liquid spills, food spills, dirt, scrapes, bumper sticker and decal residue, and other minor but inevitable damages your leased car will face after three or four years of use. A benefit to owning a car is that you may put as much mileage on it as you wish with no extra fees. On the other side, if you use very little mileage and incur minimal damage, your owned car will have higher market value if you decide to sell it.
Lease contracts often stipulate that only the contract signer may drive the car, so there may be additional costs to allow other family members to drive, if it is even permitted. Contracts are also costly to break before their time, so you should plan to keep your living situation the same for a few years if you lease. Leasing is as much a commitment as buying, so make sure you weigh in all these factors to get the best deals for your wheels.